Lance Lynn (SP-CHW) tossed a complete-game shutout against the Royals on Thursday, scattering 5 hits and walking none while fanning 11. The 33 year-old has been absolutely electric to open the 2021 campaign, as he has yet to give up a single earned run through his first two starts (13.2 IP) while posting an 11.2 K/9 and 1.3 BB/9. His 2.73 xFIP confirms that he's been good. A look at Lynn's pitch offerings shows that while he utilizes his sinker a lot, he mixes in a 92-94mph heater to go along with a change-up, curve, and occasional cutter. He excels at keeping hitters off-balance and, on Thursday, he induced a lot of quick outs, often with the sinker. More and more it is looking like his performance over the last couple of seasons was the real deal. Lynn lines up for an attractive start next week at home against a Cleveland team that has struggled at the plate.
Eduardo Rodriguez (SP-BOS) earned a win in his return to MLB action as he gave up 3 runs on 4 hits and no walks while striking out 7 Orioles batters on Thursday. He did surrender a pair of longballs in the contest while throwing 56 of his 79 pitches for strikes. While the two homers were obvious blemishes on the outing, his ability to otherwise command his pitches and not issue any walks while piling up some strikeouts was highly encouraging after his long layoff. Moreover, once he got going, Rodriguez sat at 92-93mph with his four-seamer and sinker, which was about his norm for 2017-2019. So, it looks like fantasy owners can trot Rodriguez out there with a bit more confidence going forward. But he does line up for a true test on the road at Minnesota next week.
Marco Gonzales (SP-SEA) got mauled by the Twins on Thursday, as he coughed up 7 runs on 9 hits and a pair of walks while recording 6 punchouts over 4.1 innings of work. He gave up a pair of longballs in the outing. The 29 year-old is scuffling to begin the campaign, as he now owns a 10.45 ERA, 7 K/9, and 4.4 BB/9 through his first two starts (10.1 IP). Sure, his xFIP is "just" 5.81, with a .364 BABIP and 69% strand rate inflating his ERA - but that xFIP still indicates that he just hasn't been good. An owner of a 2.3 career BB/9, Gonzales has struggled with his control so far this season while opposing batters have had little trouble tagging the ball when it's been in the zone. He lines up for a start on the road against the Orioles next week and while I wouldn't be confident going into that one based on his recent performances if you own him I think you have to run him out there against that lineup and hope for the best.
Yermin Mercedes (C-CHW) stayed red-hot, as he went 2-4 with a solo homer against the Royals on Thursday. The 28 year-old just won't stop hitting, as he's now batting .556 with 2 homers and 7 RBI through his first 28 plate appearances of the 2021 campaign. He's been too busy hitting the baseball to take a walk (4%) or strikeout (11%) but it's interesting to note that his hard-hit rate was a pretty average 35% entering Thursday's contest. I suppose it's mainly been about where he's been hitting the ball as opposed to how hard. Mercedes could very well turn out to be the latest Chris Shelton type and we will have a better idea of whether that is the case within the next couple of weeks. But in the meantime enjoy the production if you jumped on adding him.
Mitch Garver (C-MIN) batted fifth and went 2-4 with a 3-run shot against Seattle on Thursday. The 30 year-old has already matched his homer total from 2020 (2) and seems to be warming up after a cold start to the season. To be fair, is currently in a near 50-50 split for playing time with Ryan Jeffers, who hasn't exactly distinguished himself at the dish either. After logging a 46% strikeout rate last season, Garver has fanned at a 37% clip so far this year, although his 57% hard-hit rate shows that he has punished the ball when he has made contact. Given the near-equal time share he is in with Jeffers, it is tough to bank on Garver as a fantasy option right now. But if he is able to build on the pair of homers he has recently struck to carve out a bigger portion of the C role in Minnesota, he would be worth adding to your roster if you could use an upgrade at C. But we are not there yet.
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